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Apple has started manufacturing the second version of its iPad tablet computer, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The iPad 2 will come with a built-in camera (other reports have said two cameras) and a faster processor than the A4 processor in the original iPad that debuted in April, 2010, the WSJ said in a report that cited anonymous sources. Apple declined comment.

The new device will be thinner and lighter than the first one and will have at least one camera on the front of the device for features such as video conference calls.

The resolution of the display will be similar to that of the first iPad. Some observers had hoped that Apple would beef up the display to have much sharper high-definition clarity. The device will have more memory and a more powerful graphics processor. None of that is a surprise.

The new iPad will be available on Verizon Wireless and AT&T but not on Sprint Nextel or T-Mobile USA in the U.S. Apple has sold more than 14.8 million units of the first iPad, capturing more than 75 percent of the tablet computer market in the fourth quarter. The tablet contributed $4.6 billion in sales, or 17 percent of overall revenue in the most recent financial quarter.

The WSJ expects the new iPad to debut in the next couple of months at prices similar to the $499 to $829 prices for current versions of the iPad. Hon Hai Precision Industry, known as Foxconn, is assembling the new iPad.

It will be interesting to see if this design will be as smashing as that last one. Rivals such as Samsung, Motorola Mobility, and Research in Motion are coming on strong with Android tablets. Hewlett-Packard is also expected to debut a new tablet computer tomorrow with the WebOS operating system from Palm, which HP acquired. Dell is expected to launch a 10-inch tablet computer with Windows 7.

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